Over the past few years the acoustic bass guitar has become more popular as improvements in strings and pickup technology has made them a practical alternative to the double bass as well as great instruments in their own right.
For low frequencies to be produced effectively the body face needs to be big and the internal volume of the body large. This is because the lower the note the longer the wavelength so they need more space to form. For acoustic basses, size matters! To this end I build my ASAPB acoustic bass guitars with the body face of a Jumbo but with a deeper body.
Back and sides are usually mahogany with a sitka spruce or cedar top. The neck is maple laminated with stringers of suitable hardwoods, reinforced with carbon fibre and has an adjustable trussrod. Fretless versions have ebony fingerboards (marked or plain) and Indian rosewood is used for the fretted models. Schaller tuners are favourite. Because each instrument is hand made to order the customer can specify any wood combination as well as all the other options, for example, neck width and depth, neck shape, cutaway, and choice of decoration level to best suit the player. The scale length is usually 34" for the 4 strings version and 35" for the 5 and 6 strings models - the extra length allows the low B to be better expressed acoustically.
Thomastik make some special, low tension, nylon cored strings for acoustic bass guitars and these, in combination with the RMC Bass Excellence pickups and Hybrid B preamp, give wonderful amplified performance. without any of the harshness and peakiness normally associated with piezo pickups. Intonation is often a problem with acoustic instruments so I fit each RMC saddle into a separate ebony carrier with adjustment for intonation and string height. I don't think any other acoustic bass guitars do this.
So there you have them, acoustic bass guitars that are a practical alternative to the double bass with superb sound and playability, in 4,5 and 6 string versions, fretted or fretless, long or short scale.
And, as I am forever being told told by a certain person who shall remain nameless, the 6 string model should be called the Del Palmer Signature Acoustic Bass Guitar. Happy now Mr Palmer?